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In his book The Science of the Craft, William Keith, a science writer and lab technician as well as a practicing witch, attempts to explain the working of magic as a natural consequence of theories of quantum physics.  This is a serious book, and while it is clearly written, it still requires a fair amount of focus on the part of the reader to comprehend the tremendous amount of information presented.

 

The book divides roughly into three sections, the first two of which tend to overlap.  In the first section, an overview of quantum physics is presented.  The author includes explanations of many of the better known concepts, including Schrodinger's cat in the box, Heisinger's uncertainty principle and Bell's theorem.  For readers unfamiliar with these concepts, or quantum physics in general, this will be the most difficult part of the book.  Again, while Keith writes very clearly, it is often difficult to understand or accept some of these principles, especially when they seem so at odds with what seems to be observed daily in the material world.  But that seems to be precisely the point; quantum physics deals in probabilities and possibilities rather than hard reality, and that is what makes it such an apt medium to describe the workings of magic.

 

The second section of the book, which tends to weave in and out of the first, shows how some of the concepts of quantum physics may function in magical practices such as healing and material manifestation of objects, as well as in more general paranormal phenomena such as ESP and clairvoyance.  The author also offers possible explanations for why sometime magic appears to fail to work.

Finally, the last few chapters give practical exercises for the new student of magic to sharpen and focus her skills.  Unlike the exercises in many beginner's books, these are not happy, simple little activities, but a serious introduction to serious work.  Even long time practitioners of Wicca would be well served by a review of this section.

 

Overall, this is not a how-to book, and not light reading, but The Science of the Craft is well-written, and definitely recommended for anyone looking for a scientific explanation of how magic may work.

 

~review by J. Gorman

Author: William H. Keith

Citadel Press, 2005 

308 pp, $12.95

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